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What is phonetics?
   Phonetics is the study of the sounds
    made in the production of human
Two major branches of phonetics

   Articulatory phonetics focuses on the
    human vocal apparatus and describes
    sounds in terms of their articulation.

   Acoustic phonetics uses tools of physics to
    study the nature of sound waves
    produced in human languages.
Phonetic Alphabets

   In scientific discussion, the requisite
    characteristics of symbols for representing
    sounds are clarity and consistency. The
    best tools is a phonetic alphabet, and the
    one most widely used is the International
    Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The IPA provides
    a unique written representation of every
    sound in every language.
The Vocal Tract
Describing Sounds

 Vocing (whether the vocal cords are
  vibrating or not)
 Place of articulation (whether the

  airstream is most obstructed)
 Manning of articulation (the

  particular way the airstream is

   Vocing is the result of air being
    forced through glottis between two
    vocal cords.

   When the vocal folds are held
    together, the air forced through them
    from the lungs causes them to vibrate.
Place of Articulation

   Place of Articulation is how the airstream
    is modified by the vocal tract to produce
    the sound. The manner of articulation of a
    sound depends largely on the degree of
    closure of the articulators (how close
    together or far apart they are).

   Stops, fricatives, affricates, nasals, liquids,
Place of Articulation

   In describing consonants, it is
    necessary to state where in the vocal
    tract a constriction is made, that is,
    where the vocal tract is made

   Bilabials, labiodentals, interdentals,
    alveolars, palatals, velars, glottis.

   Consonants are sounds produced by
    partially or completely blocking air in
    its passage.

   Consonants include stops, fricatives,
    affricatives, nasals, liquids, glides.

   Stops are formed when air is built
    up in the vocal tract and suddenly
    released through the mouth.

   English stops inlcude p, b, t, d, k, g,
   Fricatives are made by forming a nearly
    complete obstruction of the vocal tract.
    The opening through which the air
    escapes is very small, and as a result a
    turbulent noise is produced.

   English fricatives include f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ʃ, ʒ,

   In the pronunciation of an affricate,
    air is built up by a complete closure
    of the oral tract at some place of
    articulation, then released
    (something like a stop) and continued
    (like a fricative).

   English affricates include ʧ, ʤ

   Stops, fricatives, and affricates
    are referred to as obstruents
    because they share the phonetic
    property of constricting the
    airflow through the vocal tract.

   Nasals consonants are pronounced by
    lowering the velum, thus allowing the
    steam of air to pass out through the
    nasal cavity instead of through the
    oral cavity.

   English nasals include m, n, ɧ

 The constriction for the liquids are not
  narrow enough to block the vocal tract or
  cause turbulence. For the lateral (=side)
  liquid [l] the midline or center of the vocal
  tract is completely obstructed, like in a
  stop, but there is a side passage around
  the tongue.
 Liquids include thelateral liquid [l] and the

  retroflex liquid [r].

   Glides are made with only slight
    closure of the articulators, so that if
    the vocal tract were any more open,
    the result would be a vowel sound.

   English glides include j, w,

   English has four sounds that are
    known as approximants because they
    are produced by two articulators
    approaching one another almost like
    fricatives but not coming close enough
    to produce friction.

   The English approximants are j, r, l, w

   Stops, fricatives, and affricates are
    referred to as obstruents because
    they share the phonetic property of
    constricting the airflow through the
    vocal tract.
 Clicks are obstruents articulated with two
  closures (points of contact) in the mouth, one
  forward and one at the back.
 Examples of these sounds familiar to English

  speakers are the tsk! tsk! (American spelling) or
  tut-tut (British spelling) used to express
  disapproval or pity, the tchick! used to spur on
  a horse, and the clip-clop! sound children make
  to imitate a horse trotting.

   A flap is a high velocity short stop
    produced by taping the tongue
    against the alveolar ridge,
    represented by [ɾ]. The middle
    consonant in the words butter and
    metal is commonly pronounced in
    American English as an alveolar flap.

 The alveolar trill is a type of
  consonantal sound, used in some
  spoken languages, as in Spanish

Vowel Sounds

   Vowel sounds are produced by
    passing air through different shapes
    of the mouth, with different position
    of the tongue and of the lips, and
    with the air stream relatively
    unobstructed by narrow passage
    except at the glottis.
Vowel Height and Frontness

   Vowels are characterized by the
    position of the tongue and the
    relative rounding of the lips.

 A diphthong is a vowel for which the
  tongue starts in one place and glides
  to another, as in boy, loud, time.
 A diphthong is a sequence of two

  sounds, vowels plus glide.
Other Articulatory Features of
   Languages can exploit other
    possibilities besides tongue height
    and tongue backness. Vowels can
    have tenseness, rounding, lengthening,
    nasalization, and tone.

   Tense vowels are generally produced
    with greater tension of the tongue
    muscles than lax vowels. The lax
    vowels don’t end a syllable, are
    shorter than the tense vowels, and are
    more centralized in the mouth.

   Vowels differ as to whether the lips
    are rounded or spread.

   In Mandarin Chinese, 四 ‘four’ has the
    unrounded vowel but 速 ‘speed’ has
    the rounded vowel.

   German has two of each vowel
    types – one long, the other short. The
    pronunciation of long vowels is held
    longer than that of short vowels.

   All vowel types can be nasalized by
    pronouncing the vowel while passing
    air through the nose, e.g. bean. Nasal
    vowels are indicated by ~ above the
    vowel symbol.

   In many countries in Asia, Africa, and
    North America, a vowel may be
    pronounced on several pitches and
    be perceived by the native speakers
    of these languages as different
    sounds, e.g. 一 疑 椅 易.
Major Phonetic Classes

 Noncontinuants and Continuants
 Obstruents and Sonorants

 Consonantal

 Syllabic
Noncontinuants and Continuants

   Stops, nasals, and affricates are
    noncontinuants, because there is total
    obstruction of the airstream in the
    oral cavity. All other consonants and
    all vowels are continuants, in which
    the stream of air flows continuously
    out of the mouth.

   The oral stops, the fricatives, and the
    affricates are obstruents, because
    the airstream may be fully obstructed
    or partially obstructed.

   Nonobstruents are sonorants, because
    they resonate and are produced with
    relatively free airflow through either
    the mouth or nose. Nasal stops are
    sonorants because, although the air is
    blocked in the mouth, it continues to
    resonate in the nasal cavity.

   Obstruents (including oral stops,
    fricatives, affricates), liquids, and
    nasals are consonantal. Vowels and
    glides are not consonantal.
Subclasses of Consonantal

 Labials
 Coronals

 Anteriors

 Sibilants
Subclasses of Consonantal:

   Labials are articulated with the
    involvement of the lips.
Subclasses of Consonantal:

   Coronals are articulated by raising
    the tongue blade, including alveloars
    and palatals.
Subclasses of Consonantal:

   Anteriors are produced in the front
    part of the mouth, that is, from the
    alveolar part forward.
Subclasses of Consonantal:

   Siblants are characterized by friction
    and hissing sounds.

   Sounds that may function as the core
    of a syllable possess the feature
    syllablic. Vowels, liquids, and nasals
    can also be syllabic, as shown by the
    words dazzle, faker, rhythm, and
Prosodic Feature

   Length, pitch, and stress are prosodic
    or suprasegmental features. They are
    features over and above the
    segmental values of vocing or place
    of articulation.
Prosodic Features:
 In some languages when a vowel is
  prolonged to around twice its normal
  length, it can make a difference between
  words, e.g. [biru] ‘building’ and [biiru]
  ‘beer’ in Japanese.
 When a consonant is long, or doubled,

  either the closure or obstruction is
  prolonged, e.g. [saki] ‘ahead’ and [sak:i]
Prosodic Features:

   The pitch depends on how fast the
    vocal cords vibrate; the faster they
    vibrate, the higher the pitch.
Prosodic Features:
   In many languages, certain syllables
    in a word are louder, slightly higher
    in pitch, and somewhat longer in
    duration than other syllables in the
    word. They are stressed syllables.
Stress Languages

   English is a “stress language”. In
    general one syllable is stressed in an
    English word. French is not a stress
    language. The syllables have
    approximately the same loundness.
Level vs. Contour Tones

   There are two kinds of tones. If the
    pitch is level across the syllables, we
    have a register tone. If the pitch
    changes across the syllable, we have
    contour tone.
Tone Languages

   Languages that use the pitch of
    individual vowels or syllables to
    contrast meanings of words are
    called tone languages, e.g. Chinese
    and Thai.
Intonation languages

   Languages that are not tone
    languages, such as English, are
    intonation languages. In an intonation
    language as opposed to a tone
    language, pitch is not used to
    distinguish words from each other.
    Intonation my affect the meaning of
    whole sentence.

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